Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, January 24, 2022

Just Throw It Down the Middle

To summarize, hitters were worse off against poorly located fastballs than ever before, in a season where they saw a greater rate of them than ever before. That’s confusing, and it wouldn’t be a FanGraphs article without numerous words, tables, and charts to infer why.

One reason: Fastballs are also faster than ever before. The velocity surge, once viewed with dismay and wonder, had largely plateaued since around 2016, when fastballs averaged 93.2 mph. That average rose to just 93.4 mph by 2020, the sluggish pace suggesting a limit to what humans could achieve. But pitchers broke out of their slump last season, recording an average fastball velocity of 93.7 mph. In conjunction with a new baseball, the sudden jump could explain hitters’ struggles against even the plainest fastballs, location-wise.

There seems to be more, though. The explosion in fastball velocity suggests a sudden improvement in results – fluctuating years preceded by a definitive jump. But look at fastballs located in the “Shadow” of the zone, and the decline in run value is gradual. It’s likely that over time, as more and more pitchers started climbing the ladder, hitters became increasingly ill-equipped to handle these fastballs. Last season represented a new low for borderline fastballs, sure, but merely in the footsteps of several lows before it. So how are pitchers’ strategies different with down-the-middle fastballs? How did they become, all of a sudden, better?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 06:29 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitching

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. FernandoPoplar Posted: January 30, 2022 at 06:45 AM (#6063033)
I have worked on quite a few projects where automation was used to make business processes run easier, faster, and cheaper. We have used technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate repetitive tasks, like data entry and tagging but also visit site for quality work. We have used big data to predict outcomes and we have used 3D printing to quickly produce prototypes and design mockups. Keep it up!
   2. Baldrick Posted: January 30, 2022 at 07:41 AM (#6063034)
A 94 MPH fastball used to be something pretty special. It's now the average. That's just nuts.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 30, 2022 at 11:33 AM (#6063040)
A 94 MPH fastball used to be something pretty special. It's now the average. That's just nuts.

Always remember the measurement changes from the 70's. A 94 MPH fastball back then is 99 today, and still very special. When Nolan Ryan threw 101 back then, that's 106 MPH today, and as hard as anyone throws today.

   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 30, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6063061)
Then how many pitchers were throwing 94 in the 70's, compared to how many are throwing 99 today?

And if the point is that fastball velocity increases are mostly a statistical quirk, then what explains the increase of nearly 4 strikeouts per team per game since the 70's?
   5. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 30, 2022 at 06:27 PM (#6063086)
I think Andy's point deserves a response.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: January 30, 2022 at 10:45 PM (#6063139)
4. Well, the offense has played a pretty significant role in that development.
   7. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 31, 2022 at 12:39 AM (#6063148)
that's your pet theory but its not backed up by the evidence.

Strikeouts have been ever increasing every year since 2001. HR were the same from '01-'15 they suddenly jumped in 2016 and remain high.

SO you're telling me that hitters were swinging harder from 2001 to 2015 but not hitting more HRs. WHy would they be doing that?

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogGammons: While outsiders wonder about the ball, MLB’s pitching coaches fret about finding enough innings
(7 - 9:18am, May 27)
Last: Rally

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(1865 - 9:10am, May 27)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogMLB, in memo, rebukes clubs for 'unacceptable' workplace facilities for women employees
(3 - 8:47am, May 27)
Last: Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful

NewsblogHow Good Are Those Probabilities on the Apple TV+ Broadcasts?
(2 - 7:20am, May 27)
Last: Paul D(uda)

NewsblogMet Their Match? Infield Defense a Little Off
(4 - 6:14am, May 27)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogYankees sign infielder Matt Carpenter
(5 - 4:08am, May 27)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

Sox TherapyOne Step Forward
(29 - 2:28am, May 27)
Last: Jay Seaver

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for Thursday, May 26, 2022
(35 - 12:03am, May 27)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogAnalyzing the early returns from the Blue Jays’ unorthodox defensive experiment
(18 - 9:54pm, May 26)
Last: Paul D(uda)

NewsblogAt long last, a fun new tool at Baseball Savant. Pitch tempo
(2 - 8:17pm, May 26)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogJuan Soto trade rumors: Nationals may be 'motivated' to trade outfielder
(78 - 6:49pm, May 26)
Last: Tony S

NewsblogMLB teams will be allowed to carry 14 pitchers for four more weeks
(37 - 5:37pm, May 26)
Last: Cris E

NewsblogAnaheim City Council votes unanimously to halt the sale of Angel Stadium | LA Times
(18 - 4:06pm, May 26)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Newsblog3 years later, this trade has flipped in a BIG way
(6 - 3:25pm, May 26)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogWho in MLB is must-see TV right now? This season's most watchable teams and players
(12 - 3:21pm, May 26)
Last: Karl from NY

Page rendered in 0.2328 seconds
48 querie(s) executed